Big things are coming to Saudi Arabia.
The Middle Eastern country is set to begin visible construction next week on what is expected to be the world’s tallest building at 3,280 feet, according to Construction Weekly.
Kingdom Tower will be 568 feet taller than Khalifa Tower, the current Guinness World Record holder in neighboring Dubai, once it is completed. The tower is the first phase of Jeddah Economic Company’s approximately $20 billion, 17 million-square-foot Kingdom City project, of which it will be the focal point. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a nephew of Saudi King Abdullah, is chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company, a partner in JEC.
“Our vision for Kingdom Tower is one that represents the new spirit of Saudi Arabia,” Adrian Smith, cofounder of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the firm that designed the tower, said in a press release. “This tower symbolizes the Kingdom as an important global business and cultural leader, and demonstrates the strength and creative vision of its people.”
Foundation work for the $1.2 billion skyscraper began in December, and above-ground work will start April 27. The 200-floor tower will be located in Jeddah, a culturally significant city near the Red Sea that is known as the gateway to Mecca.
A building this size doesn’t come without its challenges, however. Concerns include resistance to salt water and high winds, as well as how concrete will be delivered to higher floors, as the tower is erected. The construction site itself is 5.7 million square feet, and the project will require around 80,000 tons of steel, according to the Saudi Gazette. Despite these potential roadblocks, the skyscraper is still a realistic undertaking that could eventually be seen through to completion, Construction Weekly reported.
Kingdom Tower will house a Four Seasons hotel, luxury condominiums, office space and an observatory.
IMAGES: JEDDAH ECONOMIC COMPANY/ADRIAN SMITH + GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE